Here's a look at some of the top rumors for Monday, Nov. 23:
What should we expect next for the Denver Broncos regarding Peyton Manning and Brock Osweiler? When announcing Osweiler as the starter a week ago, head coach Gary Kubiak said that Manning would start again when healthy, although it's unclear how long that might take. Based on his array of injuries, it wouldn't be surprising if it took a few weeks, meaning we may not see Manning face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Week 12. Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio hears from a source that Manning is "absolutely determined" to get healthy and "firmly believes he'll play again this year." But could Osweiler's play earn him the job regardless? ESPN's John Clayton makes the important point that Osweiler's win on Sunday over the Chicago Bears marked the de facto beginning of the Kubiak Era in Denver, with Kubiak now free to run his offense without catering to Manning's limitations and preferences. Perhaps Kubiak would rather stick with this arrangement. NFL Media's Ian Rapoport heard from sources prior to Sunday's game that "Osweiler's play may decide when Manning returns," and that "no one has ruled out Osweiler taking over if he lights it up." Rapoport also noted that "many in the organization are split" on whether or not Osweiler -- who will be a free agent this offseason -- is the team's long-term starter, which is understandable considering how little the QB has seen the field. Interestingly, NFL Media's Michael Silver reported Sunday morning that GM John Elway had looked to trade Osweiler during the 2014 offseason and was willing to take a sixth-round pick in return, although team reporter Andrew Mason disputed Silver's report. After the QB's steady debut, the Broncos obviously have to be encouraged. But was it enough to remain the starter this season? We would guess Osweiler will have to show a little bit more, but Manning's health should lead to Osweiler getting at least another chance or two to do so. As for Manning's future, Florio noted that the 39-year-old currently plans to play another NFL season, even if it's not in Denver. There are plenty of variables at play here and much to watch as the season progresses, but it's possible that Manning's fourth interception in Week 10 was his last snap with the Broncos, even if it won't be the last of his career.
The Indianapolis Colts survived yet again with Matt Hasselbeck as the starting quarterback, moving to 3-0 with the 40-year-old at the reins, but they'll still surely be looking forward to the return of Andrew Luck. Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Luck "is out about a month" and a "mid-December return" is expected. That would suggest Luck will miss at least two more games: a home contest with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 12 and a visit to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night in Week 13. It seems like the Dec. 13 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars -- which could have implications in the AFC South race -- will be the one to watch for Luck's availability. Another key divisional matchup will follow that one, with the Houston Texans visiting Indianapolis on Dec. 20. Hasselbeck's steady play has kept the Colts afloat so far, but the next few weeks will be crucial.
In other quarterback news, Rapoport reported Sunday morning that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's season-ending injury seems to have cemented his likely departure from the team this offseason. According to Rapoport, Kaepernick's decision to have surgery on his non-throwing shoulder -- which has been bothering him since early October -- caught the team off-guard late last week after he was expected to back up Blaine Gabbert against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday. Rapoport notes that the team will look to trade Kaepernick this offseason, but it's unclear what the market will be or if teams will want to take on his $11.9 million salary. While Kaepernick's deal doesn't have any full guarantees remaining, his 2016 salary does carry an injury guarantee, which could complicate the situation if the QB isn't fully recovered from his shoulder surgery by April 1. One way or another, it doesn't seem like Kaepernick will remain in San Francisco much longer.
Seahawks running back Thomas Rawls shined in Marshawn Lynch's absence on Sunday, and it sounds like Rawls could wind up starting the rest of the regular season. Rapoport reports that Lynch's abdomen injury is believed to be a sports hernia, in which case, "surgery would come quickly and [Lynch] could be out the rest of the regular season." Lynch is meeting with specialist Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia on Monday. An extended absence for Lynch wouldn't be a staggering blow to the Seahawks' playoff chances, considering Rawls' emergence, but Beast Mode remains one of the team's biggest threats, one that has defined this team's offense in recent seasons. Beyond Lynch's availability for the rest of the season, it's worrisome to see injuries piling up for the bruising 29-year-old. With his onerous contract -- two years, $24 million remaining after this season -- and the effectiveness of his backup, Lynch's future in Seattle looks cloudy at the moment.
Do the Philadelphia Eagles have a quarterback controversy? Perhaps not. Rapoport reported Sunday morning that Mark Sanchez would likely start two games in Sam Bradford's absence -- Sunday against the Buccaneers and this Thursday against the Detroit Lions -- with the possibility of keeping the starting role when Bradford returns from injury. However, Sanchez flopped badly on Sunday, making it hard to think Chip Kelly would stick with him once Bradford is healthy. Still, Rapoport noted Bradford's future is "murky" and the team "will once again be exploring the quarterback market" this offseason. While the Bradford experiment hasn't gone as planned in Philadelphia -- and will probably last only one season -- we'd be surprised if Sanchez remains the starter once Bradford gets healthy.
In other Eagles news, an anonymous player questioned running back DeMarco Murray's level of effort following the team's ugly loss to the Buccaneers, per Jeff McLane of Philly.com. The player was referring specifically to a play from Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins, when Murray slid down rather than lowering his shoulder in front of 185-pound cornerback Brice McCain. "Was that giving full effort?" the player said, per McLane. "You see that [stuff], and it makes you wonder." This is starting to get ugly for the Eagles, who have now lost by double digits at home six times in three years under Kelly. Finger-pointing in the locker room is rarely a good thing, and this one targets a player who has been a huge disappointment since signing with Philadelphia in free agency in March. In a weak NFC East, the Eagles' season can certainly still be saved, but issues like these are never a good sign.
It sounds like Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett might be cracking the whip a little bit. Brandon George of SportsDayDFW.com reports that "part of the reason" that running back Christine Michael and cornerback Corey White were released on Tuesday was because they didn't wear suits on the team's road trip to Tampa Bay in Week 10. While George added that the players' poor performance on the field played a larger role in their releases, he also quoted an anonymous Cowboys player saying, "Sometimes you just have to drop the hammer." The transactions aren't of huge consequence, but it's interesting to hear about the Cowboys' efforts to shape up their players, especially in the context how they've handled defensive end Greg Hardy's behavior.
Jordan Raanan of NJ Advance Media suggests the New York Giants could have second-round pick Landon Collins "on a short leash" moving forward, due to the rookie's declining play and the emergence of Craig Dahl. Collins has struggled in his first season, ranking as Pro Football Focus' second-worst safety (out of 83 qualifiers). He also couldn't hang on to what would have been a game-ending interception in Week 10 against the Patriots. However, the Giants' depth at safety has been dire since a swatch of early season injuries, and Raanan thinks it's more likely that Brandon Meriweather will see fewer snaps in favor of Dahl. Either way, it sounds like Collins has drawn the ire of his coaches and has plenty of room to improve.
It seems that Arizona Cardinals linebacker Daryl Washington could have already played his last NFL snap. Fox's Jay Glazer reported during the network's pregame show on Sunday that the oft-troubled Washington "has continued to have violations" in the NFL's substance abuse program during his current suspension -- which was handed down in May of 2014 -- and that his career may be over. The news isn't surprising, especially considering that nothing has surfaced about any possible reinstatement for Washington. Still, it's a shame to see such a talented player -- who fits perfectly in Arizona's blitz-heavy scheme that relies on A-gap pressure -- squander his opportunity to play due to off-the-field issues.